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Panhandle Health District opens opioid settlement funds to community partners

The state received around $12 million in opioid settlement funds, and city and county funds totaled over $8 million.
Credit: KREM 2

HAYDEN, Idaho — The Panhandle Health District is accepting applications for opioid settlement funds from community partners "who would like to utilize funds to focus on efforts to combat the opioid crisis in the panhandle."

PHD has received about $1.3 million and will continue to receive funding annually over the next 18 years from opioid settlement funding from drugmakers and major pharmaceutical distributors, reports the Coeur d'Alene Press.

“Examples of strategies eligible for funding include treatment, prevention, research, and education efforts within our community,” said Kelsey Orlando, PHD Substance Use Disorder program manager. “We are excited to see how the community wants to utilize this funding to make a lasting positive impact.”

According to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s Drug Overdose Prevention Program Idaho experienced 241 deaths related to opioid overdose in 2021, a press release said.

Of those deaths, 152 were related to fentanyl overdose, a press release said. The state also experienced over 5,000 drug overdose visits to emergency departments and over 1,000 of those visits involved opioids.

In the Idaho Panhandle, 97 overdoses occurred in 2020, increased to 122 in 2021, and rose again to 161 in 2022. Those numbers include both non-fatal and fatal overdoses related to opioids.

Opioids are a class of drugs that include prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, and morphine, synthetic opioids like fentanyl and the illegal drug heroin.

The DOPP also reported over 2.6 million prescriptions for opioids written in 2021 for Idaho residents.

A CDC study of retail opioid prescription data shows that in 2019, the opioid prescribing rate for Idaho was 68.9 per 100 persons compared to a national overage of 46.7 per 100 persons, the release said.

“Bringing our community together for educational events and working to expand treatment and recovery services are additional ways we are working toward long-term positive changes," Orlando said.

The state received around $12 million in opioid settlement funds, and city and county funds totaled over $8 million. City and county funds have the option of reallocating their funds to local health districts in their jurisdiction.

The opioid settlement funds application can be found at here.

The Coeur d'Alene Press is a KREM 2 news partner. For more from our partners, click here.

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